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David Rosenmann-Taub:
“A spectator who knows how to see
is as much an artist as the artist” (Translation)

Romina de La Sotta Donoso
Mercurio, 2014/12/09


Alone and Armando Uribe are two of the faithful readers won over by David Rosenmann-Taub with his first book, Cortejo y Epinicio (1949). Their enthusiasm did not wane even in the writer‘s periods of creative silence (in the public sphere, at any rate).

Although Rosenmann-Taub moved to the United States in 1985, he reconnected with Chile in 2002, when his work began to be published by LOM Ediciones, which has just launched a new volume from the bard. I refer to Los Surcos Inundados (The Flooded Furrows), which won the Municipal Prize for Poetry in 1951, and which Rosenmann-Taub rewrote. “Art, at least, has the possibility of creating so that the work endures. An artist does the best of the best. He needs to revise what's been done in order to remain faithful to his original idea. What I wanted was already in my mind; but to express what one wants to say with exactitude through the medium of language entails extended work,” said the artist.

Q: What do you expect from the reader?

A: The work of art is as important as the one who looks at it. Someone who knows how to see is as much an artist as the artist. The reader who knows how to read is not less than the author. A point of contact is produced: an accord, for the spectator-listener-reader to become one with the work. It is one thing to write artistically, another to read artistically.

The book begins with one sonata and ends with another. The first is all the happiness of creating a child and being able to rear it. The second expresses the pain of losing the child you have created and can never stop loving: what I tried to make of flesh and bone is now made of shadow.

Q: With the distance of these 63 years, do you still think there is no mysticism in these 12 poems?

A: The term “mystical” has been twisted in so many ways. It means practically nothing to me. But this book addresses the possibility that the world might be different; it alludes ̶ with attack, with rejection ̶ to the fact that we all come in order to die, and that we can die at any moment. The accusation that there is something badly done in the Creation could be considered mystical. The book also manifests the positive, but given how one lives, life loses its meaning. Leading one to ask: why was I born, why do I exist, why do I have what we call consciousness?

About “Abismo,” the second movement of the last sonata of the book, David Rosenmann-Taub says: “This is not related to any esthetic experience, but rather to a horrific experience. Does culture do you any good if someone you love dies? When are you going to come to terms with that? Never.”